The Ivorian winger had flattered to deceive following a club-record £72million transfer from Lille in the summer of 2019, but is now impressing in north London.
Pepe took his goal tally for the season to 14 across all competitions with an eye-catching double on Wednesday night that spoiled Roy Hodgson’s Selhurst Park farewell and – following West Ham’s subsequent win at West Brom – left Arsenal still able to claim seventh place and a spot in the inaugural Uefa Europa Conference League next term if results go their way on the final day of the season.
Pepe’s first goal was a lovely cushioned volley after great link-up play between Kieran Tierney and Bukayo Saka, while his second in the final moments of the match was a fine solo effort.
Addressing the 25-year-old’s obvious improvements this season after the full-time whistle, Arsenal boss Arteta said: “I am very encouraged and positive for two reasons.
“One, because he has come a long way in terms of consistency and what he’s producing in games. Not in the Premier League, but what he’s done in Europe this season.
“And the second one because he’s changed his mindset. He wants to look at every mindset, he wants to look at every post-match reflection that we do with him.
“Individually he wants to work and he wants to be the best. When that happens and he has the talent that he has, I think it’s a really good mixture.”